From The Blog

Tis The Season For The Incessant Onslaught Of Holiday Music

It started early in the morning, approximately 7:45AM, while I stood in line paying for my morning coffee.

Feliz Navidad… Feliz Navidad

On my way back to the office I started half-heartedly humming Feliz Navidad, quickly realized my error, and tried to distract myself with a ridiculous “news” article posted on Facebook.

It didn’t work. Before I reached the office I half-heartedly hummed Feliz Navidad at least two more times. To this day, I still don’t know why.

During lunch I walked to the barbershop, greeted my barber, sat down, took off my glasses, and realized Mariah Carey was on the radio.

“...all I want for Christmas is you, baby!

“They’re already playing Christmas music?” I asked my barber.

“Uh huh,” he replied.

I pondered this for a moment, wondering why the airwaves were broadcasting holiday music before Thanksgiving, but not for long. Feliz Navidad came on the radio – again.

Tis the season for the incessant onslaught of holiday music. Oh, and the equally ridiculous onslaught of holiday-inspired consumerism.


Pumpkin Potluck 2014

Good People. Good Food. Good Beer. Speaking of beer…

The Beer Tasting Abstract

Highest rated beer – Wolaver’s Organic Pumpkin Ale at 4.00 out of 5.00

Lowest rated beer – Southern Tier Brewing Co. Pumking at 2.38 out of 5.00

Beer with the most 5-star ratings – Schlafly Brewing Co. Pumpkin Ale with four 5-star ratings (Southhampton Publick House’s Southampton Pumpkin Ale also had four 5-star ratings, but a lower average rating)

Beer with the most 1-star ratings – Southern Tier Brewing Co. Pumking with four 1-star ratings

The most ambiguous “beer” – The Traveler Beer Co. Jack-O Traveler Shandy managed to almost evenly confuse/sour/inspire the palette.

The Results, All The Ratings In A Table

Beer Name 1 Star 2 Star 3 Star 4 Star 5 Star Total Votes Average Rating
Mystery Beer #1 – Evolution Brewing Co. Jacques All Lantern | ABV = 6.3% 1 2 7 1 0 11 2.73
Mystery Beer #2 – Southern Tier Brewing Co. Pumking | ABV = 8.6% 4 2 5 2 0 13 2.38
Mystery Beer #3 – Blue Moon (Coors Brewing Co.) Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale | ABV = 5.7% 0 0 7 7 0 14 3.50
Mystery Beer #4 – Weyerbacher Brewing Co. Imperial Pumpkin Ale | ABV = 8% 2 1 1 5 2 11 3.36
Mystery Beer #5 – Starr Hill Brewing Co. Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter | ABV = 5.2% 0 1 2 5 2 10 3.80
Mystery Beer #6 – Hardywood Park Craft Brewing Co. Farmhouse Pumpkin Ale | ABV = 8.5% 0 2 4 3 2 11 3.45
Mystery Beer #7 – Southhampton Publick House’s Southampton Pumpkin Ale | ABV = 5% 0 2 2 2 4 10 3.80
Mystery Beer #8 – Schlafly Brewing Co. Pumpkin Ale | 8% 0 2 1 2 4 9 3.89
Mystery Beer #9 – Blue Point Brewing Co. Pumpkin Ale | ABV = 6% 0 2 3 1 2 8 3.38
Mystery Beer #10 – Ithaca Beer Co. Country Pumpkin Ale | ABV = 6.3% 0 1 2 5 1 9 3.67
Mystery Beer #11 – Wolaver’s Organic Pumpkin ale | ABV = 5.35% 0 0 3 4 3 10 4.00
Mystery Beer #12 – The Traveler Beer Co. Jack-O Traveler Shandy | ABV = 4.4% 2 2 2 2 1 9 2.78

Running The 2014 Army Ten-Miler, Squat Pee Run!

Finally, I’ve completed my 7th Army ten-miler! After last year’s race I seriously thought 2014 would be my last Army Ten-Miler race – too many runners, inadequate planning, and metro woes sent me running towards the not-so-motivated camp –  but after a very good race this year, I’m ready to sign up for the 2015 Army Ten-Miler.

Here’s a quick rundown of the race –

My wave started at 8:07, and with some 30,000 runners (~26K who finished), any motivated runner intent on competing and starting near the front of their wave probably needed to arrive at the Pentagon metro station no later than 7:15. Me? I woke up at 7:00 and managed to leave my home by 7:15. That’ll give you a hint about my motivation – initially.

I arrived at the Pentagon around 7:55 and managed to check some garments as the first two waves left. With a leisurely stroll to the starting line, I finally caught up with whatever wave started at 8:27. As you can imagine, for about the first two miles I was engulfed by a slow moving clusterfuck that frequently morphed into a mass of impatient humanity walking through tight turns. You can see most of this in my splits.

Mile 1 – 10:08

Mile 3 – 09:07

Mile 8 – 07:28

Mile 10 – 07:12

During the race, my mood changed significantly for two reasons –

1 – I woke up

2 – I saw something I’ve never seen before during an Army Ten-Miler race, and it was awesome

I’ve been baffled by the race day port-a-pottie rush for years. If you think a Metro delay or beltway traffic is annoying, be thankful that you don’t have to deal with race day port-a-pottie traffic. It’s insane!

Naturally, due to the intersection of culture, gender, and impropriety, at any race you will often find men who forego the port-a-pottie for the great outdoors. Why wait in an absurdly long line when you can just find a bush, tree, wall along the race course? You know what you don’t see too often? Women doing the same thing. You know what you will likely NEVER see? Women taking a squat, their backs to you, peeing in the median right next to the road you (and thousands of others) are racing on.

For the two women who managed to cut across a road full of runners and seemingly squat, drop their drawers, and pee in unison, I applaud your dedication to running, as well as your brazen air of self-confidence!

Congrats Runners!

A Brief History Of Running The Army Ten-Miler

2013 Army Ten-Miler Blog Post: Running The 2013 Army Ten-Miler, The Unbearable Annoyance Of Waiting

2012 Army Ten-Miler Blog Post : That Cool, Brisk Air Is Caffeine (Note: I guess I got lazy, so this year I didn’t write anything post-race, but I did reference the 2012 Army Ten-Miler in my training.)

2011 Army Ten-Miler Blog Post : Running The 2011 Army Ten-Miler, Waves Of Insanity

2010 Army Ten-Miler Blog Post : Running The 2010 Army Ten-Miler, It’s A Family Thing

2009 Army Ten-Miler Blog Post : 2009 Army Ten-Miler : The Curious Case of Bib Number 41234

2008 Army Ten-Miler Blog Post : I Ran The Army Ten-Miler Today, Now Let Me Explain

Segway, The First

If you haven’t politely (or even impolitely) asked somebody to move to the right on an escalator, you probably haven’t lived in DC for more than a few years. Or maybe you just belong to the more common subspecies of anatomically modern human commuter known as homo sapiens petroliens and your nemesis isn’t the distracted escalator denizen, but the infamous DC red light camera. Of course, it’s also possible you belong to the subspecies of anatomically modern human commuter known as homo sapiens urbanist cyclistCRAYCRAY, in which case your nemesis includes just about everyone and everything moving in DC.

Oh, and then there are the Segways. Oh you sweet, sweet marvels of technology. If you’ve lived in DC long enough, you’ve definitely seen these beautiful, odd looking machines racing around the mall and downtown DC, tourists following the war cries of their tour guide, much like I imagine soldiers following the war cries of Genghis Khan as he took in the sites of Eurasia. Well, minus the warfare and pillaging.

I think this would make a great painting, by the way. Just imagine Genghis Khan taking over Eurasia with a swift moving army of soldiers riding Segways. Disney?

So what’s my fascination with segways? Well, I recently went on a Segway tour of DC and it was a lot of fun! In fact, even though a bird shit on me while I was riding a segway (what are the odds?!?) and I learned it’s nearly impossible to ride a segway on one foot and no hands, I’d still do it again. It’s fun.

If you’re in DC (or elsewhere), give it a try – at least once.

The Apocalypse Of Information, Episode 302

Here are a few interesting reads I’ve found between → Friday, July 4, 2014 to Thursday, July 17, 2014 ← that I think are worth reading. Enjoy… or not!!!

Trainspotting: My New Life Drawing Class | Link

Like the author, I spend a lot of time riding public transit while on my way to and from work. Unlike the author, I’ve never used my commute to commune with a sketchpad and record (interpret) the diversity of humanity riding the Metro. I read this article as an invitation to try incorporating sketching into my commute because I’m in agreement with the author. Too many people spend too much time on their phones. Does it matter that I can’t draw? Probably, but I don’t care. It’ll be a fun experiment to fill up a moleskin notebook with Metro-inspired stick(wo)man monstrosities!

Almost Half of The World Actually Prefers Instant Coffee | Link

Here’s an interesting article looking at coffee consumption around the world, and just as the graphs imply, like many Americans, I avoid instant coffee. But why, you ask? Because most of the instant coffee I’ve consumed tastes worse than something made from freshly ground whole beans. Also, I suspect many Americans like the social aspect of buying a cup of freshly ground brew at their favorite coffee spot.

Forget the Shortest Route Across a City; New Algorithm Finds the Most Beautiful | Link

A mix of algorithmic magic and crowdsourcing with an eye towards a common sense application, this article immediately forced me to consider other potential spin-offs. For example, a map that provides the the best route according to your health status (you could be sick, training for a marathon, sat in a chair all day, etc.), the most well-lit route, the least crowded route, the route best for Segway’s, or the route best for dog walking (i.e., there are trashcans for the dog poo, and dog parks).

Your Beer And Excise Taxes | Link

If you, like me, are a fan of beer, then you should consider reading this post. Don’t worry if you, like me, avoid a class of literature known as tax law (excise taxes, to be specific), because you’ll appreciate the way this tastefully brewed post explores the impact of excise taxes on one of your favorite gustatory hobbies. Prost!

Scientists Are Beginning to Figure Out Why Conservatives Are… Conservative | Link

This article is interesting because it introduces and discusses the results from a study (and the results from similar studies) that look at a little something something called “negativity bias”. In a nutshell, conservatives are physiologically more attuned to negative (threatening, disgusting) stimuli in their environment, and therefore act accordingly to mitigate any perceived threats or tingly feelings of disgust. Knowing this, political discussions at family holiday events… will probably be the same as they’ve always been.

Open Door User Testing | Link

As a curious person with many interests, I support this type of all-inclusive product exploration and development, as well as the team building inherent in the process.

Never Forgetting A Face | Link

As always, I’m concerned with the shifting intersection of cultural norms, privacy, and the quickening pace of technological development. I suspect that if this tech were to be widely adopted and heavily used by regular people (in addition to companies, government, and geeks), the legislative response would be reactionary. And not the good kind of reactionary. The kind of reactionary that motivates people and governments to avoid critical thought and compromise (and the accompanying gradual – productive and secure – shifting of norms) in favor of a bimodal partisan BS-curve.

In Fever Dreams Begin Irresponsibilities, Texas Edition | Link

If you’ve ever wondered what the Republican party of Texas is thinking, check out this article and… smile, cringe, or just follow the link provided to dig even deeper and… smile, cringe, or stoke the outrage of democracy.

Do Corporations Dream Of Human Gods?

<snark> Do corporations dream of human gods? Lawyer types can write and interpret the legal fiction however they’d like, but isn’t it about time they consider legal “science” fiction too? I mean, do androids/robots/AI dream of human gods? </snark>

<img src=”Slip ’n Slide” alt=”Supreme Court Justices and Lawyers Lined Up And Waiting Their Turn For Some Classic Summer Fun”>

…if only I could actually draw such an image! For the record, I’ve never read Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, at least not yet.